Discover iPhone film apps and accessories to turn a mediocre video on the trail into a true masterpiece.

January 6, 2015


You’re off on an adventure to hike the Alps, camp in Yosemite or fly fish in New Zealand. Wouldn’t it be great to have a professional looking video of your trip to show your friends? With an iPhone or iPad, you can easily produce an epic adventure film. Check out some iPhone video shooting tips below along with a few cool film apps and accessories to turn you into the Spielberg of the trail.


The iPhone 4 was a game changer in the phone photography field, providing a mobile camera with enough resolution to shoot quality video. And the camera has improved considerably through each iteration up to the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The latest cameras even come with optical image stabilizing technology, which enables the camera to compensate for the natural motion of hand shakes to produce a clearer shot. So, if you have an iPhone 4 (or later) or an iPad, you’re ready to go.


While you can definitely get great video shooting only with the camera, iPhone film apps and accessories can help you improve your shots.

To turn the basic phone camera into a real pro video camera, let’s start with iPhone film apps. Two of the best are FilmicPro and MoviePro, both available on iTunes. These apps give you full manual control over all the settings you might need including exposure, focus, shutter speed, tint, etc., while also providing of features and options you’d find on an expensive DSLR camera.

Next, add a video rig to help you better control your phone while shooting and also incorporate your accessories. Most video rigs are solid unibody frames with a case for your phone and mounts for lenses, a microphone, a tripod and other accessories. A few of the cooler ones are the MCAM from ALM , iOgrapher’s mobile media case and the Hitcase Pro+ which is waterproof and drop resistant – great for the rugged outdoors.

Nobody wants to watch endless shaky shots, which makes keeping the camera steady vitally important. A couple of solutions include Joby’s Gorillapod , a small, flexible tripod with a clamp, and the Studio Neat’s GLIF, a universal tripod mount so you can attach your phone to any tripod. Another fun little tool is a monopod, a telescoping aluminum stick that lets you shoot yourself in action or get above the trail or river for a more unique perspective. A couple of good ones are the iStabilizer Monopod and the Quikpod.

Now it’s time to add some lenses that will help capture the spectacular vistas and beautiful flora and fauna you encounter on your travels. The lenses you’ll want for sure on your adventure are a fisheye (for 180 degree panoramas), wide-angle (for expansive landscapes) and telephoto (for those far away shots of lions and tigers and bears!) Also consider a macro lens to capture extreme close-up details.

A few of our favorites include Olloclip’s 4-in-1 kit – Olloclip also makes a fantastic telephoto lens; Manfrotto’s 3-in-1 kit with their superior portrait lens; and CamKix’s4-in-1 kit, which is the best value and includes a very long 8x telephoto lens.

Before you set out to shoot, it’s also important to consider sound. The microphone on the iPhone is pretty decent overall but for better quality, you can add a mic to your rig like the Zoom iQ6 from Rode or Fostex’s AR101 Audio Retriever.

Last, shooting video quickly burns through battery power. An external power source is a must. A few to consider include the Mophie Juice Pack or the Go Puck.



Now that you’re all geared up, here are some tips to make your video all it can be.

• Keep your iPhone in Airplane mode while you shoot. You don’t want an incoming call from Mom to ruin your shot!
• As we mentioned above, keep the camera steady as often as you can. No one wants to watch an endless stream of shaky shots. Use a heavier rig and case for walking/handheld shots and a tripod for static shots.
• Your most beautiful shots will come during the “golden hour” right around sunset when the light is best.
• Go easy with the zoom. The resolution will degrade the more you zoom, so get closer to your subject with your feet rather than the camera.
• Shoot often and from different angles. Do multiple takes of your shots and include different perspectives of the same thing. Also, remember that you can get into spots with the iPhone that you can’t with a regular video camera.
• Don’t forget to clean the lens on the phone as well as your external lenses.
• To create a shallow depth of field like for macro shots or high speed shots, use the AE/AF lock (Auto-Exposure/Auto-Focus Lock). Touch and hold an area on the screen until the yellow indicator shows. Then you’re locked and can move the camera without losing focus or exposure.
• Keep it simple. Nature will do most of the work for you.


After you’ve shot all your footage, it’s time to edit it together. Ideally, you’ll have time later to edit on a computer. If that’s the case, iMovie is an easy-to-use option and if you’re a little more experienced, Final Cut Pro is great. However, if you’re super jazzed about your video and want to share from the trail, while a little trickier on the smaller screen, there are many iPhone video editing apps– all available on iTunes. A few that we like include iMovie’s iOS version, Fly Labs’ FLY, Adobe’s Premiere Clip, and Pinnacle Studio (formerly Avid).

You can post to pretty much every platform – YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. – from all of these editing apps.

We all know the iPhone is a powerful hand-held tool, small enough to travel with you anywhere you go. Combine it with the amazing array of fantastic film apps and accessories that are available, and you can create a fun and interesting video of your adventure. So get out on the trail and start documenting the journey.

Feel like you’ve created something special? Our online event, The Original iPhone Film Festival, is currently accepting submissions through February 15, 2015. It is free to enter original short films, under 5 minutes, shot on any Apple IOS device, for consideration. The categories are Fiction, Non-Fiction, Music Video and the newest option, Student Directors/Under 18.

Our website, iPhoneFilmmaker, was developed in 2011 by Corey Rogers and Matt Dessner to bring together and support the iPhone filmmaker community. It encourages aspiring filmmakers to tell their stories by utilizing the “film studio in their pocket” – the cutting-edge Apple IOS devices that break down the barriers to personal filmmaking. It is also where you can submit your festival entries, watch entered films and other content, get more iPhone filmmaking tips, browse for recommended gear and accessories, connect with the mobile filmmaking community and learn about future events and contests.

Warren Goldswain, EpicStockMedia


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